The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said that it has reached commercial operations on a 150 MW solar project, developed in partnership with Meta to power operations at Meta’s datacenter hub in northwest Huntsville, Tennessee, northwest of Knoxville.
Development of the 150 MW Elora Solar project, which was led by NextEra Energy Resources, began in 2019, while construction efforts to build the center, which contains more than 500,000 solar modules, lasted 17 months and created approximately 250 construction jobs.
In November 2021, a unit of NextEra Energy Resources agreed to sell a 50% non-controlling interest in a 2.52 GW portfolio of long-term contracted renewable assets, including the Elora Solar Project, to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board for $849 million, while the remaining 50% interest was sold by NextEra Energy Resources to NextEra Energy Partners for almost $850 million.
The project also provides a significant boost to the capacity of solar operating under TVA. TVA itself owns 1 MW of operable solar capacity and reports no ownership of wind energy assets, as of its FY 2021 report. TVA instead has developers play the role of owner-operator, so that they can access the federal investment tax credit incentive, an option that TVA, as a government entity, cannot access. A company spokesperson told pv magazine that, as of February 1, TVA has 642 MW operating solar, which means the Elora project will bring TVA just under 800 MW of solar capacity, and the entity has visons of up to 10 GW of solar by 2035, and more than 200,000 EVs on TVA roadways by 2028.
TVA currently has 5.38 GW of renewable energy capacity, nearly all of which is hydropower.
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